Here's another group of detail shots from the Norton Simon Museum's collection; this group focuses on the brush-work of several nineteenth century artists of the 'French School.' I would say French artists, but as that Van Gogh was a Dutch transplant, he would be the exception here. Spanning an [approximate] eleven year period of develop, show are [top to bottom — in chronological order], Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes – The Pastoral Life of St. Geneviéve ; Claude Monet – The Artist's Garden At Vétheuil ; Louis-Eugéne Boudin – Low Tide, Berck : Vincent van Gogh – Mulberry Tree ; Paul Cézanne – Tulips In A Vase [c. 1890].
Although each of these paintings are representational studies, looking at the brush work of each of these artists, we can see the growing abstract nature of painting. In contrast to the evolution of painting through the prior few centuries, nineteenth century composition lends itself more and more to the evolution of pure abstraction seen later in the twentieth century. With the brush work of Cézanne and van Gogh, one can envision the coming works of Willem de Kooning or Jackson Pollock.